Geekend VI - Escape Clauses
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Once a year, six four four four six five of us takes a weekend to get away to a place where everybody knows our names, because it's the same group, more or less. Are we always glad we came? Absolutely. Are our troubles all the same? Nope. Bad draws, angry dice, uncoordinated challenges, called bluffs - we've no shortage of troubles. But Geekend 6 concluded with plenty of cheers, even if nobody tended bar.
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1. Board Game: Escape Room: The Game [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:780] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Not really this game. Live action.

How can it be an escape to a geekend when there’s no escaping? Thanks to the friendly people at Groupon, our quintet of geeks opted to get locked into a set of rooms with one mission: get out. The countdown clock was set for one hour, another clock was bumped and cost us ten minutes; rooms were explored, torn apart, re-examined, and closed off to avoid Japanese ghosts; guesses were tested, riddles were solved, Jim overanalyzed everything much like Richard Drefyuss’s mashed potato towers; and, with six minutes to spare, we decoded the necessary code to unlock our exit. While we successfully answered all five bonus questions to add points to our overall score, we lacked the speed to achieve status on their wall of fame. Seriously, some people have escaped in less than a half hour? Get your money’s worth, people!
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2. Board Game: Room 25 [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:840]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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One good room deserves another.

We reached our cabin in the woods (not Whedon’s), where we unloaded the cars, bid for beds, and set up the games. One good escape merited another, so we opened with Room 25, one that hasn’t hit the table in quite some time. As it turned out, our collective attention to detail was spent in our earlier endeavor, as the rooms weren’t set up properly, Room 25 was randomly placed in the inner ring, and the prisoners made it out unharmed while the guards alerted administration so construction for the next run would be handled correctly.

Roles were redistributed, Room 25 was relocated, and the prisoners again set out to find the elusive escape. Jerry’s tendency to push people (and subsequent murder of Josh) led to his getting nudged into a Mortal chamber and going kablooie, whereupon he revealed his guard status. Ian, his compatriot, tracked down the other prisoners who, alas, spent too much time searching for the exit. Time expired, the credits rolled, and Ian (and dead Jerry) emerged victorious.
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3. Board Game: Dogs of War [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:633]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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It’s all about the flags, baby. We broke out two of the expansion sets for what we call “the hat game;” Jerry has promised to build the hats sometime, but thus far they’ve yet to materialize. Jim (Macbeth), Ian (Nameless), Josh (Blackmane), Gary (Iago), and Jerry (Apollonia) cajoled, argued, double-crossed, and strong-armed the twelve tracks (3 x 4) and Jim confidently counted his points at the end of the game, quite surprised that he was passed by both Jerry and the eventual victor, Gary. We all agreed this is a game that needs to hit the table more often, but we also know it’ll probably be next geekend before it resurfaces.
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4. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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We own Pegasus and Exodus, and we tend to bastardize the sets into whatever version we want to play. Admiral Gary remained suspicious of everyone, as is his wont, speaking highly of someone’s humanity one round only to “go with his gut” and later turn on them. Jerry (CAG) and Ian, the pilots, escorted civilian ships regularly enough to earn trust, while President Josh helped with quorum card after quorum card. Jim, as support, believed we were toaster free for the first leg of the journey, asserting that the Admiral should try to jump to 3 instead of going further with hopes of jumping to 5 or 6 before the Cylons emerged to ruin the day. When they jumped to 4, suspicions mounted and accusations flew. After escorting two civilian ships with unmanned vipers, a crisis stranded Jim in the Sick Bay, and Gary still argued he was a traitor. That was when Jerry took to outer space and started blowing the civ ships to smithereens. Josh, notorious for a previous session as a silent Cylon, sent Ian to the brig as part of his quasi-reveal. Before exploiting his Cylon loyalty power, Jim visited the President and assassinated him. With Josh’s red eyes aglow, the humans flipped the script and freed Ian while jailing Jerry. Population dwindled as Gary jumped again, and it was a race against the clock with too many civ ships vulnerable, an impending invasion from the Cylon fleet board, and pressure as to whether we’d advance far enough to make our final jump. The humans survived one final barrage from the back-to-back imposters and fortune favored our boldness, as we made our last leap with a lone population surviving. Whew.
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5. Board Game: Samurai Spirit [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:979]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Saturday morning, Jim and Josh woke up earlier than the rest so we broke out a gentle co-op where life is easy and players can relax. Gotta bleed, but not too much. Gotta go up in flames, but not too much. Gotta defend, but not too much. Balancing the dangers, we managed to win (twice!) with Ian joining the second fray. Luck of the draw was on our side that morning, as we hit our Kiai as the Bear/Monkey/Wolf combo more times than I’d expect; we also only got burned by one Raider. We’ve played 7 Wonders, Hanabi, Ghost Stories and Tokaido, and we enjoy all of them. Add this to the mix. Fun, but harder than it looks.
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6. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:59]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Fresh on the heels of its Hotness, Clank! hit the table as Ian prepared dinner. Gary was given a quick rules briefing and off we went. Jim barreled into the monkey idol room, swiped the golden bananas, and started dashing out before anyone else had a chance to grab any other artifacts. Everyone made an abundance of noise, but against the odds, the dragon slumbered long and hard, barely snorting enough fumes to even singe our clothes. Unfortunately for Jim, he stalled and found it incredibly difficult to maneuver; by the time he arrived outdoors, Josh was hot on his heels and Jerry and Gary had both collected artifacts, coins, and gems. Jim’s Mastery Token was little consolation as Josh and Jerry made it out as well, Jerry amassing enough doodads, trinkets, and whatchamabobs to prevail. Stupid whatchamabobs.
 
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7. Board Game: Flick 'em Up! [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:521]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Scenario 9 offers a hangman’s noose, a barrel, two shotguns for the taking, and two strategies for the bandits to prevail. Option 1 – collect both shotguns, wait until right before noon, drop the barrel and collect William Hung (not his real name). Option 2 – fire, fire, and fire some more. Forget the whites of their eyes. If your eyes are open, fire! If that doesn’t help, close your eyes first but keep flickin’ that trigger! Jerry and Gary as the lawmen (via randomly selected teams) gathered around the gallows and waited for first blood. Josh and Jim ignored Ian and opted to go with the first strategy, at least for the first 90 minutes (game time, not real time). Collecting a shotgun proved far harder than expected, and holding on to it proved impossible as we half-assed the strategy to perfect defeat. Ian had one final crazy shotgun blast out of the saloon and if he avoided the sheriff’s men, it would have required a miracle shot meriting Zapruder documentation and scripts for Wanted 2: the Quest for Curved Bullets. With the final shot of the game, Ian lined up his gun and let loose. Micrometers away from success, he launched a deputy airborne. Eyewitnesses could hear the deputy laughing “We still won!” as he tumbled to the floor.
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8. Board Game: Dungeon Fighter [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:768]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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To relieve some tension, we broke out a game we’ve never lost. Dice off the nose? No problem. From a praying position while spinning in the air? Got it. Caromed off a wall/card/surface? Difficult, but we’ve succeeded before. So Josh challenged Jim to stack the dungeon with the most difficult creatures. Two easy, three medium, three hard, and the rest crazy-difficult. Even so, we slogged through room after room, dispatching zombies, trolls, treants and worse. Until we met Wilson.

Why Wilson?

Because to slay Wilson, we needed to spike the dice like a volleyball. Time after time, we watched our attacks skitter aggressively across the crossbones, off the table, through the kitchen, only changing direction long after hitting the floor. Jim was the sole success story, hitting him once with what might be considered “the lamest slam in history.” Alas, one hit was far from sufficiently slay-worthy, and Wilson knocked the entire party unconscious, thereby prevailing over our volleyball-challenged party.
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9. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:147]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Jim loves him some Chvatil, and would happily fill an entire geekend with Dungeon Lords, Dungeon Petz, Mage Knight, Codenames, Galaxy Trucker, and Space Alert. Explaining the rules was messy, as is often the case with Chvatil’s collection, but Captain Jim stepped up and set the U.S.S. Geekend VI adrift to combat ships, asteroids, and saboteurs. Our first mission was set for easy, and with a bit of first-game tweaking for stupidity and I-didn’t-understand-what-I-was-doing, we won! Feeling simultaneously disappointed and confident, we upped the challenge level to 9, whatever that means. It didn’t go to 11, but it was still plenty hard enough to smoke us. Jim panicked too much, Jerry chased the internal threats, Josh and Ian fired away and recharged batteries, and Gary looked out the window and wiggled the mouse like… me on any given workday. I love the game and expect we’ll improve with plays, but we’ll need to pass the captain’s mantle so I don’t have a coronary arrest.
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10. Board Game: Where's the Beef? [Average Rating:4.62 Unranked]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Steaks. Good mercy, Ian’s steaks were to die for. The potatoes were great, the asparagus was great, and the cake was divine. But the steaks? Proof that God exists.
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11. Board Game: Runewars [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:146]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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We have the coffin box, plus Banners of War, and we play 2v2 where the Elves (Gary) and Undead (Jerry) square off against the Humans (Jim) and Chaos (Josh) in a race to ten points. The undead and humans started strong, amassing sizeable troops including an early emergence of bone dragons. Elves, as usual, scrambled for food (insert Gauntlet vine: “Elf needs food!”) while the Uthuk blew themselves up real good. Gary spent a dozen influence over multiple turns to influence a neutral squadron, seven-strong including a dragon, which Jim then dispersed with his hero’s special that killed one triangle. Josh brought a horde of nasties to overtake Gary’s flank, then killed off half the survivors. And then, everything went quiet for humans and chaos. Jim upgraded to Paladins, so every globe would be worth 2 rout plus draw 2 tactics cards. And Jim proceeded to lose 20 paladins without drawing a single globe. Josh never built an initiative 4 faction. Jerry and Gary played masterfully, and the cards went their way, with several battles decimating entire troops while suffering minimal (if any) casualties. It got ugly. Josh’s minions were weak and spread out so amassing a big attack would’ve cost too much. Jim’s last ditch effort to attack Gary to get him away from his home proved fruitless – all humans, horses, and rocs perished while the elves frolicked without losing anyone. After nearly four hours of back for Jim and Josh and forth for Gary and Jerry, the humans and Uthuk conceded defeat.
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12. Board Game: Loser [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Jim Becker

Nashville
Tennessee
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Any weekend you can get away and play that many games is a success, no matter how unsuccessful I may have been playing them. Looking forward to next year! Until then, I'll give everything I've got to make my way in the world today, tomorrow, and beyond.
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